25 mins on, 5 mins off, 25 mins on, 5 mins off…

You may have heard me speak about this before and I think it is worth coming back to. The Pomodoro productivity technique (1) is one that I go back to again and again as it can save my day.

The idea is you set a timer for 25 minutes where you focus on a task and ONLY on that task. You can’t get a drink, you can’t look at Facebook, you can’t use the bathroom (ok only in emergencies). Once the timer goes off, you get a 5 minute break where you can do whatever you want, check your mail, make a tea, run around naked. Like I said, whatever you want. Then it’s back to 25 minutes of concentrated work followed by another 5 minute break.

This technique is great for getting started with things you have been procrastinating over as even if you only get the smallest thing done, you have at least started. Getting started is usually one of the biggest hurdles.

I tell myself, I just have to do 25 minutes and that normally works to get me moving because once I’m in the flow, it’s easier to continue.

The name comes from those old timers that looked like a tomato that you had to twist and it would tick tick tick down and end with a loud buzz.

Try it, a tomato may save your day.


1) The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s – Wikipedia